I amazes me that even though I was raised during a time when adult men repeatedly repeatedly told me to respect women, many of them never knew what that really meant. Many of those same men lived lives defined by misogyny and chauvinism. So much so that they have since gone on the defensive when women started pushing to be treated equal. Over the years they have become scared of losing their position as man of the house and king of the castle. They fear women with strength to the extent that they must try to knock them down figuratively via verbal abuse, slut shaming, or calling them names like “bitch” or “frigid”. And sadly in this day and age men still literally try to knock them down through rape and/or physical abuse.
I had the idea of writing a blog article on rape culture for a while. I’m not sure why it has taken me so long. Perhaps I was waiting to accumulate enough evidence from current events? Perhaps deep down I was worried what other me would think of me or say in retort to this blog? And let’s face it, there are going to be guys reading this who will at least think ill of me and some of them will even be brazen enough to actually respond. I know you are out there. By all means, respond to me, challenge me, call me names, (try to) insult me, I don’t give a fuck. I know my experiences, I can better see past events now than I ever could when they happened. I’ve been to bachelor parties where men willingly and without hesitation would cheat on their wives or girlfriends while at the same time calling the stripper a “slut” just for working as a stripper. If you can’t seen the double standard, you are part of the problem. If you can’t see that there is no shame when a women chooses how to work with her body and certainly not worse than a man cheating on his partner, you have issues. I’ve known men who starting dating / sleeping with underage women who have risen into positions of authority, being “respected” by his peers. I’ve even experienced the tyranny and verbal abuse of my father. Don’t get me wrong, I love my father despite what a tyrant he was. I love him despite his many faults which we all have. However he is the quintessential do as I say, not as I do type father. His actions were anything but a good role model for how to have a healthy relationship with a partner. Years of verbal abuse towards my mother (and me and my siblings) did not prepare me to have a healthy relationship with other women. And it wasn’t just verbal abuse per se but his blatant disregard for my mother’s opinion on matters. Even to this day, though softened over time, emotional erosion, those tendencies still come out. I still get irritated when after my mother spends all day cooking a family meal, my dad asks her “can you put the coffee on”. I usually remind him he is fully capable making coffee. Others just roll their eyes intimating “he’s never gonna change”. True, he won’t change at this point. That doesn’t make it right. I’m fairly positive my family will be upset with me airing dirty laundry but if I’m going to pontificate on this topic, I must open and honest about the various forms of misogyny I have seen over the years.
The end result is that many men feel they are entitled. Entitled to having the only opinion that matters, entitled to sex with any woman, entitled to control the lives of women close to them. These are just but a few examples. Examples of a mentality that has grown over time and today allows headlines to laud a rapist’s swim times than condemn the rape he was found guilty of committing. A mentality that still puts the onus on women to prevent their own rape by not dressing in a way to attract a rapist. A society that shames girls with dress code violations because it is distracting to boys rather than educating boys about consent and their responsibility to not rape. In a day an age when “accountability” is a buzzword of the times, there seems to be very little accountability for teaching young boys to not rape or the rapists themselves, even when found guilty.
While rapist Brock Turner is probably the most well know recent failure of the law and society to hold a rapist accountable for his actions, there are many more were that came from. Again, if you can read these and not see the problem, not see the culture that exists which enables rapists to get away with their crimes and / or shift the blame, then you are part of the problem. You are certainly free to disagree, you are free to have a dissenting opinion but that opinion garners no right for respect and if you disagree, I have no respect for that opinion, not on this topic
This first example comes from our neighbors from the North who are no less immune to misogyny and cruelness. In perhaps the ultimate alienation of a victim, Judge Robin Camp asked a rape victim why she couldn’t “just keep her knees together”. This is victim blaming pure and simple. Such a statement is ignorant and insulting to say the least. It completely takes the onus off the perpetrator of this crime to insinuate that she could have stopped the rape through her own actions.
What could be more egregious than Brock Turner’s laughable and insulting sentence? How about a commuted sentence for a child rapist? After video taping his rape of a child and being found guilty, Kraigen Grooms spent a mere 2 years in juvenile detention and then had the following 10 year sentence suspended by Judge Randy Degeest. Let that sink in… 2 years for a child rape that was video taped.
In Steubenville Ohio, two football players were found guilty of rape thanks to the efforts of an Anonymous hacker who found evidence of a cover up by school administrators and parents. While the football players received insulting sentences of no more than two years, the hacker has been in indicted for allegedly “conspiring to access an online account to draw attention to a 2012 high-school rape case in Ohio.” and facing a possible sixteen year sentence. So, to paraphrase the article, apparently in the eyes of the law, it’s worse to force you way into a computer than to force your way into a woman.
The above article highlights how prone women are, how untrained flight crews are, and in some instances, the lack of empathy of the flight crew when rape and sexual assault occurs on airplanes. Airlines do not even have specific procedures for handling these incidents. Adding insult to injury, it shows how difficult it is to prosecute the perpetrators and how in many countries it is not even considered an issue get upset about, with one perpetrator being allowed to leave the plane without any questioning by authorities let alone detainment. Victims were told by to let go and get on with your life buy airline personnel, FBI, and police. While sky marshals were created in response to terrorism, it’s beyond me that airlines have not worked with sky marshals to expand their responsibilities to respond to these when they are on flights and device specific protocols to be followed when it is reported.
If you read these and cannot see the blatant culture of entitlement and victim blaming, if you cannot see that the perpetrators were afforded leniency and more concern for their futures than that of their victims, then I submit you cannot read or comprehend the English language. I submit you are blind to the this illness that permeates our society. If you live in denial of this, you are the sociological equivalent to the ignorant groups who deny the Earth is round. To all he men reading this in disagreement, I ask you to think really hard about other men you know. I guarantee you know a man who has this entitlement. I’m not saying you know a rapist, but you likely know a man who treats women as property, who feels women do not have valuable opinions. We need to call them out on this. And if you don’t know a man who fits this description, then you need to take a long look in the mirror, for it may be you.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the solution will be quick. While there are some who may disagree with me, I still tell everyone to be careful. I say it to men and women equally and unfortunately when it comes to rape, women do still need to be careful. NOT because it’s their responsibility to prevent it, it’s not, but because this will not change over night. Like biological evolution, the evolution of this disgusting male mentality will take time. Entitled, misogynistic men will not learn consent overnight, they will not stop physically forcing themselves on women in the next week, they will not stop drugging women or raping intoxicated women by the end of next month. And we as reasonable, intelligent, emotionally secure men are the start to that change. We need to teach consent to younger men, teach them that it is their responsibility to not rape, teach them that there is no expectations from women of sex in any scenario, that women’s choices need to be respected. We need to call out chauvinistic peers who treat women like property. If we don’t, we fail everybody. We fail those young men, we fail future victims of rape, we fail ourselves.